Aircraft - Research aircraft equipped with high-tech remote sensing instruments

Facility Location
City & country
Trieste (Italy)
Borgo Grotta Gigante, 42/c, 34010 Sgonico
Description & contacts of the access provider
Legal name of organisation
OGS - Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale
Infrastructure contact - Primary contact
Michela Vellico
RICC contact - Secondary contact
Michela Vellico
Facility Availability
Unit of access
Availability per year
Minimum 5 days
Expected duration of single experiment:
1 Day
Operational or other constraints
Specific risks:
Any survey will be performed only under good weather conditions.

The Piper Seneca II aircraft, property of OGS, is managed by a team of expert researchers and technicians. It is equipped with the most advanced remote sensing instruments:

  • Lidar sensor Riegl LMS-Q560
  • Hyperspectral sensor Specim Aisa Eagle 1K (Visible Near Infrared field)
  • Thermal camera Nec TS9260 (from 8 to 13 μm)
  • Digital camera Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII (21 million pixels)
  • Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer (CO2, CH4, H2O) The performance of the installation is very high.

The aircraft can operate to a maximum height of 1500 m. The Lidar sensor can reach a spatial accuracy of 40 cm in xy and 15 cm in z axes. The hyperspectral sensor has a pixel of 70 cm for an average flight height of 1000 m; the band number can be set up to 252. The thermal camera has a pixel of 50 cm for an average flight height of 800 m. Orthophotos derived from the digital camera can reach up to 16 cm pixel on the ground. The GHG analyzer has a precision up to 300ppb for CO2 and up to 0.6 ppb for CH4.

Applications of the remote sensing equipped aircraft are mostly environmental. The hyperspectral sensor allows the monitoring of vegetation health (evaluation of stress on vegetation caused by greenhouse gases). The presence of these gases can then be directly detected in the air with the Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer. The thermal camera analyze the temperature of vegetation and any changes in the ground related to the presence of gas. With the Lidar dataset it is possible to have a precise Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the surveyed area, while the orthophotos are useful to visually identify the phenomena in the surveyed area.

The equipped aircraft
State of the art, uniqueness, & specific advantages

The equipped Piper Seneca II is part of EUFAR (European Facility for Airborne Research); it is inserted and operates in a European context.

The instrumental equipment has been used to perform remote sensing surveys in several European projects, including CO2GeoNet, to detect CO2 leakages at natural field laboratories (Latera, Italy and Laacher See, Germany) and will be used to monitor CO2 leakages in the off-shore natural laboratory of Panarea island (Sicily, Italy).

This aircraft is unique because it integrates different instruments on board and can eventually accommodate additional new equipment provided by researchers.

Data acquired are processed by the Remote Sensing Group at OGS, where some techniques for multiparameter leakage detection have also been developed.

Scientific Environment

The aircraft can operate over the whole European territory. It can be used to perform accurate remote sensing surveys over wide areas, onshore and offshore (especially coastal areas).

Data collected can be easily geographically referenced and integrated with other data, for joint analysis and interpretation.

OGS personnel will organize the logistics and will decide the most proper time and atmospheric conditions for the acquisition, in accordance with the user. When necessary, training on processing and interpretation of remote sensing data will be provided.


Other EC DG Research
Other Large Initiatives
Other Large Initiatives
Other Large Initiatives

selected publications

Govindan R., Korre A., Durucan S., Vellico M., Jones D (2015)
An unsupervised Bayesian methodology for the detection of onshore CO2 leakages under parameter uncertainty
Submitted to International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (IJGCC).
Pearce J., Bateson L., Beaubien S., Ciotoli G., Jones D., Joseph C., Lister B., Lombardi S., Shaw R., Vellico M. (2008)
Rapid monitoring of onshore CO2 storage sites
Proceedings of GHGT9 - 9th International Conference of Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Washington D.C.
Vellico M., Sterzai P., Creati N., Coren F., Vidmar R., Persoglia S. (2008)
An airborne integrated system to monitor CO2 emissions: preliminary results in the Adriatic seashore
Proceedings of First EAGE CO2 Geological Storage Workshop, Budapest
Bateson L., Vellico M., Beaubien S.E., Pearce J.M., Annunziatellis A., Ciotoli G., Coren F., Lombardi S., Marsh S. (2008)
The application of remote-sensing techniques to monitor CO2-storage sites for surface leakage: Method development and testing at Latera (Italy) where naturally produced CO2 is leaking to the atmosphere
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (IJGCC), volume 2, July 2008, pp. 388-400
Vellico M., Beaubien S.E., Bateson L., Sterzai P., Annunziatellis A., Pearce J.M., Persoglia S., Lombardi S., Marsh S. (2007)
Remote sensing techniques applied to gas vents monitoring and detection in the Latera caldera
atti Geoitalia 2007
Annunziatellis A., Bateson L.,Vellico M., Beaubien S., Ciotoli G., Coren F., Lombardi S., Marsh S., Pearce J.M (2007)
“Testing and verification of remote sensing techniques on a naturally-leaking CO2 reservoir (Latera, Italy); implications for monitoring of CO2 geological storage sites
EGU, Vienna, 2007, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 9, 04529, 2007, SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU2007-A- 04529